One of the sergeants suggests at the briefing that the R.A.F. fill a bomb-laden plane and crash it into the mountain fortress. Rolland reminds him that killing an American general might anger General Eisenhower. No sooner have our heroes bailed out than one of them, the radio operator, is found dead in the snow with a broken neck. The Gestapo raids a tavern in Werfen and arrests the rest and takes them separately for questioning. Smith and Schaffer are hauled away together, but they manage to escape after their car crashes. Smith and Schaffer then climb atop the cable car that ascends to the Schloss Adler. Simultaneous, one of their undercover agents, Mary Ure, is being escorted by a suave but sadistic Gestapo officer in the cable car to work in the castle.
Once our heroes have gotten into the castle, Smith interrupts a meeting between high ranking German officers and General Carnaby. Smith proves beyond a doubt to SS-Standartenführer Kramer (Anton Diffring of "Heroes of the Telemark") and Gen. Rosemeyer (Ferdy Mayne of "The Fearless Vampire Killers") that he is a double-agent working for the Nazis as well as the British with a night-time call to another high-ranking German general.
Eventually, when it comes time to break out of the castle, Smith relies on Schaffer who plasters the place with trip-wire explosives. Once the Nazis realize what is going on, all hell breaks loose. "Where Eagles Dare" the movie surpasses MacLean's own novel; he wrote the screenplay and he provides Richard Burton with some of the greatest lines that you'll ever hear in the World War II movie. Indeed, "Where Eagles Dare" is the best World War II thriller that Burton and Eastwood ever made, with Burton making more W.W. II thrillers than Eastwood. The rest of the cast is first-rate and composer Rod Goodwin of "633 Squadron" provides a memorable score that ramps up the action and intrigue. At 158 minutes, "Where Eagles Dare" never lets up on either action or excitement. The surprises that crop up in the narrative match the sizzling action sequences. Clearly, this is Brian Hutton's most memorable film, far better than the action comedy romp that he went on to direct "Kelly's Heroes" with Clint Eastwood after "Where Eagles Dare" wrapped. For the record, the propeller driven plane that appears during the opening credits is vintage Nazi plane. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the fighter planes that Smith and Schaffer blow up in the last major shoot out sequence.
Hollywood has yet to equal "Where Eagles Dare."